Scotland to begin Covid-19 vaccinations as end to toughest measures anticipated


The first doses of a Covid-19 vaccine are to be distributed in Scotland on Tuesday as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon prepares to announce an end to the toughest restrictions in some areas.

About 65,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine arrived in the country over the weekend, with more expected to be on the way.

The double-dose vaccine will be administered to those tasked with giving it out first, before healthcare staff and those deemed to be clinically vulnerable are inoculated.

Ms Sturgeon described the vaccine as “light at the end of the tunnel” but warned against complacency, urging Scots to continue to follow restrictions and public health guidance.

“I ask everyone to be patient as we work our way through this vaccination programme and continue to follow FACTS to keep us all safe,” she said on Monday.

Meanwhile, a stint in the toughest level of Scottish Government restrictions for some local authority areas is due to come to an end this week, the First Minister is expected to say later on Tuesday.

A total of 11 councils in west and central Scotland are expected to be moved down from Level 4 on Friday.

After some confusion over the weekend, the First Minister confirmed on Monday that this remains the plan and she and her Cabinet will decide on Tuesday morning what level each area will move down to.

Quiet Buchanan Street
Quiet Buchanan Street

The shift away from Level 4 means non-essential retailers will be able to open just two weeks before Christmas, while hospitality businesses will be able to resume operations with reduced opening hours.

The alcohol ban will remain in place for businesses in areas only reduced to Level 3.

“Our decisions will be based on the trajectory of the virus in each local authority area, as well as the need to protect capacity in the NHS and we will also consider the social and economic harms that come from the restrictions,” the First Minister said at the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh on Monday.

Ms Sturgeon added the Scottish Government will continue to take a “cautious and careful approach” to changes to the levels.

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